The decibels generated by 3,800 companies hawking their electronics wares at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week could rival a KISS concert.
Not to worry. We’ve combed through the show’s offerings and selected a handful of the more intriguing audio devices on display at CES this year to save your ears from the noise -- both literal and figurative.
Music is being incorporated into all sorts of objects, courtesy of the current craze over the “Internet of things.” Two years ago at CES, a refrigerator that streams music from Pandora drew snorts of incredulity. This year, there were headbands wristbands, watches and cars that eagerly showed off their wireless music playback skills.
Here are some of our favorites.
1. Rocki ($49 to $89)
This little device attaches itself to any existing speaker that has an audio input, turning it instantly into a connected speaker that can pump out music sent via WiFi from a mobile device. Boom – your old school analog speakers are now updated for the streaming era.
2. Monster Go-DJ ($599.95)
A DJ set-up in your pocket, Monster’s Go-DJ slim handheld lets you produce, play and record tracks from your personal digital music collection. Two LCD touch screens let you capture loops, scratch and add sound effects. Silver knobs cue tracks, control volume and crossfade.
More from CES
3. Audi Smart Display Android Tablet (Included in the car price)
Audi took CES by storm this year with its suite of futuristic car technologies – from the cockpit touch-screen dashboard and laser beam headlights to a fully self-driving, self-parking vehicle that comes with built-in 4G connectivity that can act as a wireless mobile hot spot for up to 5 devices. But the feature that caught our eye was the Android tablet that lets passengers direct and control the in-car entertainment system, cueing up music and, in the near future, connecting the car with a host of Android apps. It also gives passengers the power to be co-pilot, pulling up maps, information on local destinations and other information.
4. 50 Cent’s SYNC In-Ear Wireless Sport Headphones ($159.95)
We all know 50 Cent is cool. Add to that the coolness of wireless audio at CES this year and you have the SYNC Sport, a sweatproof, water-resistant set of headphones made by SMS Audio, a consumer electronics company founded by 50 Cent. The rapper, a self-described “fitness fanatic,” said he designed the product to withstand his rigorous workouts.
5. Bohemian Guitars ($299.99)
Not every gadget at CES had to be ultra-futuristic to catch our eye -- or ears. Bohemian’s electric guitars are made from oil cans (also vintage metal lunchboxes). The tiny company was founded by brothers Adam and Shaun Lee, who grew up in South Africa, where people routinely made instruments out of discarded materials. Before you dismiss the guitars as misguided do-gooder goofiness, check out the company’s funky but charming video where you can hear for yourself how these instruments play.
6. Ion Audio Bluetooth Cassette Adapter (Price TBA)
If you can’t afford the self-driving 4G-connected Audi with the laser headbeams, you can still instantly update your, um, vintage automobile’s cassette deck with an Ion Audio adapter. The device looks just like a cassette tape, except it has a Bluetooth receiver. Pop it into the deck, click on the playlist from your mobile device and your car speaker starts playing the music -- no wires needed.